Often dubbed “The Queen of Comedy,” Naomi Snieckus is instantly recognizable as the hilarious phys. ed. teacher on CBC’s hit comedy, Mr. D. An alumnus of The Second City Toronto where she wrote and performed in numerous hit shows, her television and film credits also include appearances on The Trailer Park Boys, Degrassi: The Next Generation, Little Mosque on the Prairie, and Being Erica. Showcasing her trademark wit as an event emcee, stand-up comedian, improv-expert, or workshop leader, Naomi works both alone, and alongside her husband, Matt Baram, her co-founder in the comedy duo, The National Theatre of the World. CraveOnline caught up with Naomi to talk about the new season of Mr. D, and what else she has on the go:
She acts, she writes, she does improv… Naomi Snieckus can do it all! A regular on the hit home-grown series “Mr. D,” airing on CBC, Snieckus is a member of the Second City alum and she and her husband, Matt Baram, founded the The National Theatre of the World, which won five Canadian Comedy Awards. She also won the Canadian Comedy Award for best female improviser in 2010, as well as best female in a TV Series for “Mr.D.”
CraveOnline: You have a lot of different projects on the go right now – can you fill us in on the TV, movie, and web work you’re currently involved in?
Naomi Snieckus: Well, “Mr. D” Season 4 has just begun, which is really exciting. I think the writing this year is very different from last year’s and it’s a very funny season. A film I did with Gavin Crawford called “Two for One” is opening the Yukon film festival in February. Also, my partner Matt Baram and I recently launched a web series that we made with our company, the National Theatre of the World. You can see it on www.CBC.ca/punchline/doingit. We are looking forward to filming more sketches for this site in the future.
Matt and I are also pitching shows – we have a feature film we are writing for Chesler Pearlmutter and I am in development with Inga Cadranel and Amanda Brugel with Prodigy Films. Lots of plates spinning!
Is there a particular medium that you prefer over the other?
I really like being able to do a little bit of everything. Being able to do live comedy feeds the comedy that I get to do on TV and film. I like the balance and imbalance of doing it all.
You’re a big improv actor – why is improv and comedy something that you enjoy doing?
I love the spontaneity of improv and the surprise of it. I also love that at any given improv show you collaborate with the audience, the end result is something that happens only for one special night.
You’re from Toronto but where do you live now?
We currently live in Toronto, however we are pursuing our green cards to be able to work in the States as well. Our company also travels a lot so we are spending time in Berlin in March and perhaps touring our two-hander show in the fall.
Do you find that the Canadian television and film landscape is different from that in the States? Why or why not?
I don’t think there’s a difference between countries. A well-acted, directed, written, lit, shot, edited show can be found in any country. Perhaps the difference is in the money behind shows – there seems to be more money to support production and publicizing shows in the States.
Who do you look up to professionally?
I look up to people that work hard and are kind. It’s a pretty straightforward philology. Folks like Bette Macdonald, Colin Mochrie and George Strombo… I admire them. I also look up to people that manage to maintain a balance in their lives and in their careers – people like Amanda Brugal, Andrew Barnsley, and Jono Torrens. I strive for that.
Jennifer Cox/CraveOnline/February, 2015